Thurow model to be finished by summer


Wally Thurow, known as Mr. Pumpkin, poses in the mid-1990s during the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. A statue of Thurow, who helped found the festival, will be unveiled today to help start this year’s Pumpkin Festival.

By Keisha Howerth

The Wally Thurow Tribute Committee said clay molding for a bronze statue is scheduled to start in April.

The statue of Wally Thurow will serve as a tribute to the Sycamore resident and the Pumpkin Festival he founded.

The life-size statue will show Thurow in his top hat next to his trademark high-wheel bicycle. The statue will be located on the northwest corner of Somonauk and Elm streets.

Elizabeth-based artist David Seagraves presented an 18-inch model of the statue to the committee last week. Seagraves said the clay molding of the statue should be finished by June.

“It will take a few months afterward to get the casting completed, hopefully in time for the Pumpkin Festival,” Seagraves said.

The committee needs $18,000 to complete funds that will go toward the bronze casting of the statue.

“Money is also needed to prepare work on the bicycle,” said Ed Kuhn, Wally Thurow Committee member.

Jerry Malmassari, Wally Thurow Tribute Committee member, said the statue and bicycle work as two projects.

Malmassari said the committee is about two-thirds away from its $65,000 fundraising goal. Money for the statue has been raised through private donations from corporations and individuals, as well as from groups involved with the Pumpkin Festival.

Kuhn said the tribute committee was formed six months after Thurow’s death in February 2012. Organizations involved with the Pumpkin Festival and several Sycamore city and chamber members joined the committee to honor the Sycamore resident.

“The committee members felt his image was well-known for a life-size statue,” Malmassari said.

Kuhn said it was the committee’s desire to have the statue located on the Pumpkin Festival parade route.

“It’ll be on the city municipal corner, overlooking the parade,” Kuhn said. “[Thurow] was an integral part of Sycamore and the Pumpkin Festival.”